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Posts Tagged ‘Ladies of the Night’

Lastimg_20170304_232349 week was SASS, and though I didn’t help in planning this year I did volunteer at the kissing booth at the Harlot’s Ball on Saturday night, where quite a few lucky gents and a few lucky ladies got to sample my legendary kissing prowess for a teeny price (and in public, yet!) to benefit SWOP.  I also contributed one of the last remaining special copies of Ladies of the Night with a unique Chester Brown sketch in it as a raffle prize; there are now only four left, so if you want one you need to speak up!  And speaking of my books & Chester’s art, the cover art for The Forms of Things Unknown is now in the hands of the finish artist, who is coloring it, placing the titles & other text and preparing it to become an actual book cover.  She should have it back to me in about two weeks, after which all that remains is for me to submit all the files, examine the proof and then let you know the book is ready!  That should be right around a month from now, so keep your eyes open.  That’s all I have to tell you this week, but big things are a-brewing and I’ll keep you posted as they reach fruition.

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Five years ago, in the introduction to “Concubine“, I wrote:

I must admit that I’m surprised I’ve been able to deliver [a new story] every month; I always used to say that unlike my dependable and constant Muse of Nonfiction, my Muse of Fiction was like a sulky girlfriend:  when she wanted me she demanded my undivided attention, but when she didn’t want me I couldn’t even get her on the phone.  But ever since “The Trick”, she has visited me without fail at least once per month, usually without my even having to beg her…

ClioI repeated the joke in the foreword to Ladies of the Night, and until last year it was true.  But as my available time shrank and my commitments increased, I found that inspiration often came more slowly, and I had to beg a lot more often.  Fewer of my stories were (in my own opinion) really inspired or especially memorable, and the ones that were revealed a lot more of my soul than was the norm before.  Several of the stories came to me literally hours before publication, then this past February I cheated by letting someone else tell a story, and last month I quietly and unceremoniously slipped another type of essay into the usual story slot.  But if I keep doing that y’all are going to notice, so here we are.  Some ideas were bouncing around my brain, but as of this writing none of them has gelled and I’m very tired and about to go and get myself a milkshake.  So what I’m thinking is, I’m going to take a brief hiatus from fiction; the next story I think of will be an exclusive for my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, which I plan to start compiling this coming week.  I know this kind of sucks, but consider that I’ve had an almost unbroken run of one story per month for six years; that’s 72 stories in all.  That’s really very damned good; I don’t think many writers are that prolific.  I also don’t think my Muse has really returned to her old sulky ways; she’s probably just tired and wants a little vacation.  Or maybe she’s suffering from PMS, or thinks I’ve been neglecting her.  Maybe this is her way of getting me to do the book.  But one way or another, I’m sure she’ll be sending me inspiration again in short order, and I’ll soon be serving up new tales on a regular basis again.  And if not, it was a good thing while it lasted!

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By the time I woke up last Thursday morning, three of the books Chester sketched and signed for me had already been purchased; another followed that evening, and another has been spoken for but the buyer wants to let others choose their sketches first and will take the last one.  So far, the books containing the sketches numbered 4, 5, 8 and 10 have been bought and delivered to their new owners; the ones you see here are the ones which are left.  If you’d like one, make sure you speak up now before someone else gets your favorite!

Last week was pretty good for me financially, despite a couple of cancellations, but other than that it was  pretty stressful.  Having to deal with taxes was not a good way to start the week, and it didn’t really get better after that; there were a host of real-life annoyances small and large which continued to stack up until Friday, at which point I was so out of juice that I simply wasn’t able to go any more.  So I simply stayed at home, made myself an omelette, worked for a while, drank enough to thoroughly relax my body and brain and sent silly texts to friends.  Definition of a true friend: someone you can text drunk at 1:30 in the morning to tell her how beautiful you look in the mirror at that moment, and she doesn’t even make fun of you.  Much.  Anyhow, I didn’t even get dressed on Saturday, but on Sunday I had a lovely brunch with another friend I haven’t seen in a couple of months, then in the afternoon I went to Big Lots.  Don’t laugh; I love bargain shopping.  Virtually nothing I own was purchased full-price, unless somebody else paid it and then gave it to me as a gift.

Anyway, I’m rather hoping this week will be better; I had a lovely dinner with one of my favorite gentlemen last night, today I’m having my hair done, and then later this week I have a major professional engagement which should be a lot of fun.  In a few weeks, I’m going to be visiting Los Angeles for about a week; I need to test my new vertigo medications (fingers crossed & pray to Hermes for a good journey, please!), I want to visit some friends, and a special gentleman is taking me to Disneyland.  So if you’d like to see me while I’m there, please let me know; I should have my dates firmed up by the end of the week.  Oh, and while we’re on the subject:  I’ll be in New Orleans for the Desiree Alliance conference from July 10th-15th.  I’ll be offering my usual advance-pay special for both trips; contact me for details if you’re interested.  And yes, I can hand-deliver a book to you to save the shipping cost.

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As I explained on Tuesday, Chester Brown and I spent a lot of time together on Sunday, and much of it was used in signing books.  The reason this took so long is that Chester did a unique custom sketch in each one, taking about half an hour each!  I then left some space for a custom inscription, signed my name, and he signed, dated and numbered each one below that.  There are only ten of these altogether, and each one is different.  So I’m going to ask $50 for each one, plus a shipping & handling fee of $20, for a total of $70.  If you’d like to buy one, please email me telling me which of the pictures you want and how you want the book inscribed; you can then PayPal me the cost and I’ll get it off to you right away!  One of these is already spoken for, but the recipient isn’t picky about which one, so as of this morning all 10 are available (though obviously that will change as people buy them).  If you’d like to see any sketch in more detail, just click on it.  Thank y’all so much for your loyalty and support; if this goes well, we’ll do a signed and numbered edition of The Forms of Things Unknown as well.  And naturally, it would also inspire me to get the book out all that much faster!

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Maggie & Chester 4-17-16 The early part of last week was pretty quiet, as tax week often is; I probably should’ve made time to open the book-thickness sheaf of forms that my CPA sent me (apparently laboring under the misapprehension that I’m actually going to fill them out).  But since taxes give me actual anxiety attacks (that audit in 2003 which I was still paying for until last year probably has something to do with it), I put it off and I’m just going to send her my bank info and answer any questions she might have.  The weekend was great, though; on Saturday night I chatted on stage with Chester Brown at his book signing, and on Sunday we hung out together all afternoon.  We signed 10 books together (Chester’s signature in each includes a unique custom sketch), and I’m going to be selling them as a limited edition (I’ll devote a column to the particulars this Thursday).  Also, Chester agreed to do the cover art for my next short story collection, The Forms of Things Unknown; he took some reference pictures and I promised him I’d start working on the book in the next few weeks.  He definitely inspired me to get off my high-priced arse and start working on it, and I think once I get this one out I should have developed a pattern that will enable me to finally finish The Essential Maggie McNeill as well, and maybe start working at last on my Big Project.  That’s the theory, anyway.

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The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead.-Edward Powell

Maggie sketch 8-30-14As has been my custom for five years, New Year’s Eve is the occasion for a retrospective of the year’s news.  But while in previous years I mostly reported on the things other people did, the biggest story this year (at least in this blog) is the stuff I did.  Besides too many interviews to count (including one for Reason TV that has been seen over 20,000 times so far), I made dozens of personal appearances all over the country, as detailed in my tour diaries from May until the present.  The excuse for these was the publication of my book, Ladies of the Night (and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, you probably should); I know that last year I said that the second one (tentatively entitled The Essential Maggie McNeill) would be ready by summer, but obviously the tour pre-empted that.  I still hope to have it ready in the next couple of months, but I’m not promising anything because I’ve finally decided to take everyone’s advice and try to make just a tad more time for myself.

The best news of the year is that we’re still right on track for an end of “sex trafficking” hysteria by 2017, as I predicted three years ago; already we’re beginning to see skeptical articles from journalists and academics in addition to consultation of actual experts, prominent reporting on anti-hysteria studies and increased placement for articles from yours truly (including ReasonThe Washington Post and a law journal).  Though the hysteria is still in full bloom in most quarters (especially among cops, rescue industry opportunists and others with a vested interest in keeping the panic going), the exposure of “trafficking” darlings Somaly Mam and Chong Kim opened the door to allowing skeptics to openly express their doubts.  Still, just as the bad laws spawned by the last round of “sex trafficking” hysteria have endured to the present day, so will those spawned by this one endure for decades after the panic is over.  This year saw an expansion in efforts (some of them surreptitious) to impose the horrible Swedish model, and while France barely escaped it Canada and Northern Ireland have not, with the Republic of Ireland almost sure to follow.  And while there’s no way the US will ever stop persecuting sex workers without a Supreme Court order halting the practice, Swedish-flavored “end demand” rhetoric provides a palatable “feminist” excuse for endemic police violence and hounding of sex workers.

rapist copBut it’s not only sex workers who are infantilized in the name of “feminism”; female university students, too, are treated as moral imbeciles too delicate to make sexual decisions without the help of coercive patriarchal institutions.  And it’s not only sex workers who are the victims of police violence; nearly every week sees at least one report of a cop raping at least one woman (I reported 60 this year).  Not one of my Links columns is free of at least one incident of police brutality, and cops’ unrestrained and consequence-free murders of young men, especially young black men, has provoked mass protests all year.  Nor do all cop attacks involve physical violence; actual robbery under cover of “law enforcement” pretenses is at an all-time high, and many police and FBI operations are motivated by profit and/or the desire to create a spectacle in advancement of a political narrative.

At first glance, this hasn’t been a good year for sex workers; our rights are even under attack in countries where they’ve been reasonably secure for years, and agency-denying “sex trafficking” propaganda is promoted in virtually every mainstream venue and pretended to be factual in legislatures and police circles worldwide.  But at the same time academics, human rights organizations and many others are beginning to open their eyes to the truth, and everywhere I traveled this summer I found receptive audiences.  Moral panics do not slowly fade away; they usually get worse until they very quickly collapse.  The end of widespread societal support for persecution of sex workers is coming…and sooner than you might think.

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Lady fairest ever seen
Was the bride he crowned his queen.
Pillowed on the marriage-bed,
Whispering to his soul, he said,
“Though a bridegroom never pressed
Dearer bosom to his breast,
Mortal flesh must come to clay:
Even this shall pass away.”
  –  Theodore Tilton, “The King’s Ring

Every year on the Day of the Dead I write about why the holiday exists, why it is necessary, and why ruining the quality of life in an attempt to increase its quantity is both foolish and ultimately futile.  To those who have only started reading me this year, or who have only read a few selected pieces over a longer time, this might seem a strange topic for a harlot; one might expect death to be the farthest pole from my topic, except perhaps for mentioning it as an extreme manifestation of whore stigma or when paying my respects on December 17th.  But in truth, it’s both predictable and appropriate on a personal, professional and philosophical level.

zombie and harlotFrom a personal standpoint, I would probably have written often on this topic even had I never become a card-carrying prostitute; I was a strange, wild, moody  Wednesday Addams of a child, born on Halloween night and fascinated with horror lore and imagery.  Autumn was both my native season and the one in which I felt most comfortable, and I struggled with depression for over twenty years until at long last sex work helped me to get a handle on itMy favorite books, stories  and even songs mostly tend to involve death or other melancholy elements, and just look at the stories I’ve published on this blog and in my book (or just the cover of the damned thing, for goddess’ sake!)  So if you’ve read more than a handful of my (burnt) offerings and were still surprised that I sometimes think and write about death, you just haven’t been paying attention.

Professionally speaking, I must point out that whores often deal with the dark side of human nature.  Fear and sex are inextricably intertwined, and men who have rape fantasies or other “bad” urges may seek out sex workers to help them explore these in a safe and non-judgmental space; others, unfortunately, may seek out unwilling sex workers for the same reason, and the only “safety” they seek is their own relative safety from legal consequences.  Dominatrices and some fetish workers specialize in dealing with the darker aspects of human sexuality, and in criminalized, semi-criminalized and quasi-criminalized systems virtually all sex workers (especially those who work the street) are at a much greater risk of violence or even death than their domesticated amateur sisters.  And nobody who is afraid of death, or who views it as an unpleasant subject improper for polite company, could do the work I do now; take a look at a few items in any of my TW3 columns and I think you’ll see what I mean.

It is no accident that sex workers are among the most dedicated worshippers of the Mexican death-goddess, Santa Muerte, and that many of the myths surrounding pagan whore-goddesses (who were sometimes war-goddesses as well) involved violence and death; even long before criminalization of sex work was the norm, it was recognized that sex itself comes from the same hidden parts of the human psyche as those less-pleasant things.  Sex originates from the deepest wellsprings of life, but so does death; the latter is no less a biological process than the former.  Sex brings new life into the world, but death sustains that life; every one of us (yes, even vegans) continues his existence at the expense of the other lives we consume every single day in order to keep our internal fires burning and repair our damaged or worn-out tissues with materials stolen from the dead.  Not even plants are innocent of this colossal carnage; since some substances (such as phosphorus) are comparatively scarce, all life would soon grind to a halt were the constant supply of corpses to be choked off.  Nor is sex itself all moonlight and love songs; in many species it’s a brutal, coercive affair, and even among humans it can never be purged of its bestial and terrifying aspects, no matter how much feminists and other puritans insist that it can.  Sex and death are our constant reminders that for all our pretensions we are still animals; no wonder those uncomfortable with that fact try to disguise and sanitize both of them, to hide them from the children and speak about them in whispers, to bind them in legal codes and bury them under layers of ritual.  But no matter how deeply we bury our sexualities they reassert themselves, and no matter how diligently we try to delay death, it will come when it will come.  Both are impossible to ignore and impossible to prevent, and human society would be a lot better off if we learned to accept both as indisputable facts of material existence. 

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